Baylor vs. BYU Odds, Analysis, Predictions

by | Sep 8, 2022 | cfb

Baylor Bears (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Brigham Young Cougars (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)

When: Saturday, September 10, 10:15 p.m.

Where: LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, Utah

TV: ESPN

Point Spread: BAY +3.5/BYU -3.5 (GTBets - 125% bonus up to $400 with bonus code PREDICTEM)

Total: O/U 53.5

Outlook

The big question here: can BYU get Baylor off the field? Last year, the answer was an emphatic no; Baylor kept the ball for 36 minutes out of 60 and was able to kill the Cougars’ chances by bleeding the clock out with long, time-consuming drives that resulted in points. Leaving out the final three seconds of the first half, only two of Baylor’s drives for the entire game last year lasted for fewer than three minutes, resulting in the Cougars’ offense getting chained to the sidelines.
This season, BYU’s defense should have a better chance to answer the bell. The Cougars brought all 11 starters back on the defensive side of the ball and scored a comfortable rout in Week 1 against South Florida. But the Bulls simply aren’t up to the Bears’ level, and the Cougars’ defense was still a tad suspect in that victory. BYU has to be better on the defensive side of the ball if it’s going to have any chance to even the score with Baylor from last season.

How the Public is Betting the Baylor/BYU Game

The public and the pros are on opposite sides of this one. 60% of the tickets have come in on Baylor, but the money has come in on BYU, causing the number to jump from BYU -2.5 to BYU -3.5. The total has ticked up from 53 to 53.5.

Injury Concerns

Baylor:
Baylor reports no injuries.

BYU:
Wide receiver Gunner Romney (undisclosed) and wide receiver Puka Nacua (foot) are questionable.

When Baylor Has the Ball

Blake Shapen showed that last year’s performance in the Big 12 title game was no fluke, as he threw just three incompletions in the season opener with Albany. Granted, Albany isn’t exactly a world-class opponent, but even when you’re facing little to no defense, hitting 85% of your passes is an impressive number. But questions abound concerning who will get the bulk of the carries in the running game, as Baylor still has a few issues with moving the ball on the ground.

Two years ago, not one Bear running back managed to top 100 yards in a game, which was one reason Baylor was last in running the ball in 2020. Last year, things were much better, but Baylor has shown a few signs of regressing here. Taye McWilliams didn’t look sharp in his first game, and there’s a real chance that freshman Richard Reese could take the job. Reese was far more effective in Week 1, averaging more than six yards per carry; it’s probably at least a good chance that Reese will get the bulk of the carries in this game as Baylor tries to get him to build off what he showed in Week 1.

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When BYU Has the Ball

Odds are, BYU won’t have anywhere near as easy a time as it did on the road last time out, as the Cougars aren’t likely to get anywhere near eight yards a carry against Baylor. South Florida’s defense just seemed helpless to stop anything that BYU tried, which could either be a sign that Christopher Brooks will have a dominating year or that the Bulls have a lousy ground defense. Brooks did average 5.2 yards per carry at California last season, so it’s not all because of how poorly the USF run defense played.

However, BYU has to be ready to face some adversity in this matchup. Jaren Hall did whatever he wanted in the pocket last time out, and that isn’t likely to happen again. Nor is BYU likely to be able to spread the ball around quite as much as it did last time out. The Cougars have not established a true No. 1 threat at this time, mainly because they haven’t yet had to do so. That might not be a problem against Baylor’s inexperienced secondary, but the Bears are also far more talented of a team than South Florida.

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Betting Trends

Baylor hasn’t been a good bet in its road opener as of late, partly because Baylor’s road opener usually comes against a lesser team in Texas. Usually, Baylor schedules its road opener against someone like UTSA, Rice, or Texas State, which results in the Bears giving too many points and having a hard time covering the number. This time, they’re getting points, but there’s another problem in this series: the home team is 3-0 all time when the teams have met. Under Dave Aranda, Baylor is just 5-4 as an underdog ATS.

BYU was a lousy ATS bet last year, going a mere 5-8 ATS. The Cougars did manage to cover last time out against South Florida, but that marked the first time they’d covered since facing Idaho State last fall, a three-game skid against the number. As a favorite, the Cougars have just one cover against their past four Power 5 opponents, that coming against Virginia.

Weather Report

Lower temperatures are coming to central Utah in time for this game, as temperatures will start at 87 degrees on Saturday and end up plunging to 56 degrees over the course of the day. Wind will blow at six miles per hour, heading northwest.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread

BYU doesn’t tend to cover in Power 5 matchups, and the number has moved above a key football number here. Baylor is the higher-ranked team, and playing at BYU isn’t likely going to faze the Bears, given their experiences a season ago.

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